Updated: Jun 21, 2021
One of the questions I'm asked most frequently is how to travel on a low budget. Whether I am talking to friends, going through my DMs on Instagram or on a live session with other travel pages, the most discussed topic has always been how to travel more frequently without burning a hole in your pocket. If that's something you find yourself wondering about too, then read on!
I've seen quite a few people hold back on adventures and explorations solely because of limited funds. This always brings the same thought in my mind that travel doesn't necessarily have to be about exploring far away, exotic lands and taking the traditional route of staying in comfortable resorts. Travel is also very much about the experience! And who says you can't experience wonders on a small budget? Look around, be open to unconventional plans and you might stumble upon the best travel story you can tell! If that hasn't stirred the wanderlust in you, here are 10 life changing tips that will come in handy next time you plan a trip:
1. Travel during the Mid or Off Season Traveling during the peak season is almost always going to cost a lot more than traveling during off season. It is good to keep a track of the seasonality of travel because it varies for every location or country. What is considered to be "off-peak" in one region may not be so in another.
Yet another advantage to traveling during off season is the opportunity to explore touristy spots with a lot less crowd! That's a wonderful added benefit if you're looking to get clicked at all the famous spots in town. The only downside of traveling during off season is that the weather conditions might not be the most pleasant. Some places you might have to visit during chilly winters and some other during sweaty summers but if you want to travel on a budget, mild discomfort is par for the course!
2. Be flexible with your flights
I'm sure you have come across people who have been lucky to get insane international flight deals. Let me tell you a secret - it's not sheer luck, it's hard work! By that I mean you have to be flexible when you pick dates for your travel. You can begin by keeping tabs of international flights on websites such as Skyscanner.com.
Enter your "From" destination and then your arrival as "Everywhere". Skyscanner gives you an option for selecting the cheapest month in the dates tab. This way you can easily plan your trip in advance and get cheap international return flights for as low as INR 10,000 ($130). Don't believe me? I got my flights from Delhi to Paris and Back in INR 28,000 during mid season!
3. Stay in Hostels Whether you're traveling within your country or internationally, Hostels can be a great option when looking for accommodations. To state the obvious, you will end up saving a large sum of money while staying in hostels on your trip as compared to hotels, resorts and B&Bs. Most hostels I have stayed at have costed me between INR 400($5) to INR 1200($15) per night.
More than saving money, I usually pick hostels as my preferred choice of stay because I get to meet backpackers from all around the world. This is one way I come across beautiful stories from people with varying backgrounds. There are all kinds of hostels available on Hostelworld.com including exotic hostels, relaxing hostels and party hostels.
Yet another advantage of staying at hostels is that you can find other travellers to share cab fares with while exploring the city. We did this while staying at Zostel Aurangabad, split our cab ride with 2 backpackers for Ajanta Caves and back.
4. Earn while Traveling Yes! It is possible to earn while you're traveling. It may be more feasible for people traveling for extended periods or even full time, however even for part time travellers it is possible to earn through various means including:
- Freelance Writing - Running your own website - Creating Content for Social Media - Teaching a language online or at the location you're visiting
One more definitive way of finding work is to sign up on Workaway. Here you can find jobs in hundreds of countries around the world for short and long term basis. There are some jobs that offer money and some that offer free stay and food. Check out the website and trust me, you won't be disappointed. I haven't personally taken a workaway trip yet but I have closely followed Raksha - @therovingheart's journey when she was in Europe using Workaway. It was really inspiring, you should definitely check out her page out!
5. Walk or Rent a Bicycle You can save tons of money when you avoid taking cabs altogether! Cabs in most countries can cost an arm and a leg. As a way of saving up and also experiencing the city like a local, I always choose to walk around as much as I can. There are days where I walk 20 kms and by the end of the day it is all so worth the effort!
Cycling around Paris in September
Renting bicycles can also be a fun alternative, especially in destinations like Goa & Pondicherry in India and Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris in Europe.
6. Bring Snacks with You Almost every time I'm on a backpacking trip with my brother, we don't eat more than 2 meals a day. I have the habit of carrying protein bars and trail mixes in my backpack so I'm not low on energy while exploring a city. This way we save up on our meal costs and to add to it, we try eating as much local cuisine as possible. That's one of the best ways to experience local culture as well as save that extra buck. 7. Take Overnight Buses and Trains When planning a multi city trip, try taking overnight trains or buses from one city to another. This is really helpful in saving up on a day's expense for a hostel/hotel. While we were backpacking through France, Belgium and Netherlands we saved up on hostel cost by taking an overnight Flixbus from Amsterdam to Paris. 8. Public Transport
When walking is not possible, public transport is your next best bet. Take local buses, metro and trams wherever possible. Most metropolitan cities are very well connected and there are options like day passes, bulk tickets and metro cards available for slightly cheaper tickets if you plan on spending more time in one city.
Taking the RER train in Paris
9. Street Food is Cheap Food Trying street food can be the cheapest way to feed yourself while on a budget trip. Besides the fact that it is more affordable than restaurants, you also get to learn a lot about the local culture of the place. You get to try drinks and dishes that you might not have even heard of!
Street Bought Stroopwafel in Amsterdam
Bun Samosa in Kasauli
Mixed Fruit Cup in Jalan Alor, Kuala Lumpur
On our recent trip to Malaysia, we ate street food almost every day and got to try dishes that we couldn't even think of! I tried Durian ice cream, colourful pork dim sums, coconut milkshake, boba tea among so many other local delicacies. Each dish as cheap as 4-5 MYR!
10. Be Open to New Places One of the best advice in the field of travel can be having an open mind. I know we all have our bucket list destinations but there are hidden gems all over the world which you may never have thought of visiting. One such city was Aurangabad for me. While visiting my brother in Mumbai, we planned an impromptu trip to Aurangabad and it turned out to be one of the best ones because not only did we get to explore UNESCO World Heritage sites like Ajanta & Ellora caves, we also got to shop and eat local! And the best part, it was an incredibly affordable trip over all.
Cycling around a small town near Mussoorie
I think by now you know it is not as difficult to travel on a budget as it seems! Try out these 10 tips and I assure you, you will have the best experience of your life. Ever done any of these already though? I'd love to know your story! Comment below and let's get chatting:)